10 Signs That You’re Too Critical

Relationship expert, John Gottman, identifies criticism as one of the things that cause relationships to fail.

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I once knew someone who complained, criticized, and highlighted the negativity in every situation. Whew! What a downer! Although she had some lovely qualities, they weren’t enough to overcome her negativity, and I had to terminate the friendship.

If you don’t want this to be you, maybe it’s time to do a little self- assessment.

You might be too critical if…

Your language is negative. When you speak do you use words that illustrate positive or negative things? For example, if someone asks how you are, do you say you are “great” or “not bad?” If your words tend to highlight negatives, your thinking may lean to the critical side.You have a hard time enjoying yourself because you see all the things that are wrong and miss all the things that are right.  Both are present. What you focus on is what you see.Other people remark on your criticism. If you hear it from more than once source, there is probably some truth to it. Pay attention.You want things done your way and can get upset when they are not. You will even micromanage others to get what you want. If you can’t stand not being in control of the outcome, you may have a problem.You criticize yourself. How you do anything is how you do everything. Criticism probably doesn’t stop with you. If you constantly second guess yourself and beat yourself up, you’re probably too critical.Many of your comments start with “you should.” This can come across as criticism and disapproval – even if you don’t want it to.You’re a perfectionist. It’s okay to have high standards and reach for the best. It’s not healthy to beat yourself or others up when it’s not achieved.You’re frequently irritated. Overly critical people often find something to be upset about. Lighten up.

Believe it or not, criticism is a coping strategy to relieve anxiety and avoid undesirable outcomes. It’s as if the critical person believes that if they just do everything right, nothing bad will ever happen.

Of course, that is impossible, so they fail, feel miserable, and take others down with them. So, it’s not a very effective strategy.

If you’re looking at this list and thinking, “Hey, I think this is me,” you might want to let that go.